Book Reviews: Colours for Kiwi Babies, and Counting For Kiwi Babies, by Matthew Williamson and Fraser Williamson

cv_colours_for_kiwi_babiesAvailable in bookshops nationwide.

It is refreshing to read board books for young babies which represent the world they are growing up in through beautiful pictures and simple text.

In Colours for Kiwi Babies, each double page spread focuses on one colour. One page is filled with the colour with the colour’s name in both te reo Māori and English. Opposite, a stylized kiwi image represents the colour. With each turn of the page, the pictures show New Zealand proudly – a rugby jersey, pohutakawa, pavalova; all things your child is likely to grow up knowing in real life.

cv_counting_for_kiwi_babiesIn Counting for Kiwi Babies, the focus is on New Zealand native birds from across the country – kiwi, tūī, ruru and kea for example. The text includes the numeral with te reo Māori and English names for each number. This is great as your child grows for number recognition.

In both books, both English and te reo Māori are valued equally – and it is fantastic to see some bird and plant names are not translated because these kupu are part of our kiwi dictionary!

The books are robust enough for your child to love but designed for adults to enjoy too. I really enjoyed the muted colours which were pleasing to read and the pictures could hang on my wall!

We shared these with a young child who has just had a baby sister join her whānau. The simple format allowed her to read to her new sister independently and for her sister to enjoy the story-telling.

Both these books are a beautiful addition to any new-borns’ library and as your baby grows, these books will provoke lots of kōrero about the images and text.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

Colours for Kiwi Babies
by Matthew Williamson and Fraser Williamson
Published by Puffin
ISBN 9780143771142

Counting for Kiwi Babies
by Matthew Williamson and Fraser Williamson
Published by Puffin
ISBN 9780143771135

Book Review: Where is Pim? By Lena and Olof Landstrom

Available in bookstores nationwide.

Where is Pim? is the second book in the series cv_where_is_pimabout a boy and his soft toy – the first being Pom and Pim. They are written and illustrated by husband and wife Lena and Olof Landstrom.

This is a delightful story about a little boy Pom and his soft toy Pim. When I received this book, I thought it would be the perfect book to read to the newest member of our family – 6-month-old Quinn. She sat listening intently and looking with keen interest at the illustrations. We had a discussion about the soft toy Pim – is it a spider, or a crab? – a rather one sided conversation, I might add.

Her sister Abby (4) was floating by my knee at that point, looking over at the book and the illustration. “No Grandma, it’s not a spider, it’s definitely a crab.” So that was that – it’s a crab. Quinn turned her head as if to concur with her big sister, but pointing at the same time at the dog. Dog, it transpires takes Pim after Pom had thrown it in the air, and hides it. The story that unfolds is of Pom and Dog looking under seats, bushes and other likely hiding places until Pim is eventually found.

I initially thought that perhaps at 6 months old Quinn was a tad too young to appreciate and enjoy this book, but I was certainly wrong. It is written simply with clear illustrations that made reading this delightful story a moment that I will treasure for quite some time. Life is certainly full of surprises – I think we can say this is another member of our family caught by the reading bug!

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Where is Pim?
by Lena and Olof Landstrom
Published by Gecko Press
ISBN 9781927271742 (P) ISBN 9781927271735 (H)

Book Review: Tractors, and Planes, by Catherine Foreman

Both of these books are available in bookstores now.

I was delighted to get these two new releasescv_planes from Scholastic NZ, both part of a new series called ‘Machines and me’. As a mother of two boys, I consider myself something of an expert on books about machines, and these did not fail to delight. Catherine Foreman won the Children’s Choice award for her book The Cat’s Pyjamas in the 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and she was a good choice for this series.

Catherine has written both books in an easy, smooth rhyme, which trips off the tongue when reading aloud, and is not in the least contrived. Each book has also got an aspirational ending, which makes them slightly different from other books of their ilk, as the child is encouraged to use his/her imagination actively.
Planes begins by explaining what a plane does in easy words, then describes different types of planes. Planes with stripes and planes with lips, and planes that even land on ships is my favourite line from this one. The illustrations are clear and obvious, reflecting exactly on the words, with just enough flourishes to keep it interesting for a toddler. My nearly-3-year-old adored this, and the backgrounds on each image kept him asking questions, which is fantastic.

I really enjoyed the illustrations in Tractors, with the Fred Dagg and Andy Capp-like characters driving their tractors with their hats pulled over their eyes. While Catherine’s technical skill isn’t good enough to pull off an interior view of a tractor, the character of the books as a whole carries over this factor.

Both books would lend themselves well to baby board books, as early introductory readers, and I am certain they will sell well into the international market. A great couple of books, recommended for ages 1-5.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431602

by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431619